Taken from the private mission files of the NSPA (Neopian Special Protection
"You would never think that Neopia Central - the picturesque little
city in the heart of the land, the pride of Neopia, and other such reputable
synonyms - would have been the setting of the biggest untold scandal in Neopian
history. It would be even more surprising to discover that it began in a relatively
unknown swamp, several miles Northeast of the city, and was foiled by the most
unlikely of heroes. Even the most beautiful roses can hold the deadliest of
thorns. We at the NSPA never wanted to reveal this information to the public,
but feel it is now time to expose how close we came to certain tragedy at the
hands of one very sinister character..."
Part 1 - "The Shadow at the Swamp"
It all started one night, on a fairly pleasant evening. Y'know, not too cold
or rough. A cool breeze ebbing out into the west, bristling past the willow
trees on the banks of Kiko Lake. The Lake is a well-known and reputable beauty
spot, famous for its Bubble Tours, fishing and bird watching. There is also
a very little known area, set deep into the forest off a tributary of Kiko Lake,
named Krawk Swamp. This is home to a small group of fanatics, fun-lovers and
friends who call themselves Krawk Clan. The swamp is situated quite far from
the nearest town, which can be quite a hindrance to the occupants - especially
in this instance ...
A human and her Skunk Kougra, both members of Krawk Clan, were walking along
the swamp that night. There was nothing particularly strange, spooky or mysterious
about that night. That's what made it so creepy.
There is a sudden sound of laughter from the distance. A teenage girl with
long brown hair and slightly pointed ears laughed hysterically at her Neopet,
who had stolen a piccolo from her and refused to give it back, playing fetch
instead! The Kougra squealed with delight.
* BLEEEEEEEEP *
His attention was diverted quite suddenly by a mechanical bleep coming from
behind the trees. He growled playfully and bounded out of the branches, stalking
the noise as a game.
The girl looked at him curiously, head propped onto one side. "Rincham? What
have you found?"
An eerie silence swept across the swamp at that moment, and it grew very suddenly
cold. The girl shivered and called to Rincham. "Come on. It's getting cold,
and we'll be late for our meeting."
Rincham the Skunk Kougra had a reputation for stubbornness. He snarled back
at her, grinning: "I'll only be a second, Spike. Look, there's something shiny
in the shrubs over there."
She blinked. There was something there. "Oh aye. It's probably just a Spyder:
they can fend for themselves. Let's go, it's getting really chilly." Spike didn't
want to mention she had a creepy feeling they were being watched. She didn't
want to sound all paranoid.
The sound occurred again, louder this time. Rincham pinpointed its location
in the shrub, lifted his paw and brushed the branch aside. Nestled in the roots
of a tree sat a very small creature, bleeping softly to itself. It was metallic
looking and silvery yellow, standing out against the black of the tree bark,
with a body like a twisted, mutated Negg. "It's an Avabot," called Rincham.
Spike, the girl, sidled up behind him. "That's odd. Avabots are very expensive,
costing 70,000 NP or even more. It must belong to somebody."
The Kougra crept up to the Avabot slowly. Spike felt a sudden and very definite
chill. Just as that happened, the Avabot launched itself, leaping several feet
into the air, and locked on to Rincham's nose! He howled with pain and shook
his head vigorously, trying to dislodge his assailant.
Spike was about to take a step forward and help him. She stopped, and looked
at the ground. There was no denying it. Your imagination doesn't have shadows.
She turned slowly. Standing between the rows of silver birches, watching the
scene unfold, was a dark hooded figure. A long, thick tail and tree trunk legs
were barely covered by the cloak. Under the hood protruded long white fangs,
reflecting the moonbeams. Bright crimson eyes glinted in the seemingly faceless
What could she do? She screamed shrill and loud, grabbed Rincham (whose Avabot,
startled by the scream, had let go of his muzzle) and galloped out of the forest.
The hooded figure sighed and stormed through the forest, knocking down a few
trees along the way. The Avabot bleeped in triumph, following it's master, who
melted into the dense forest and disappeared.
An investigation was launched the next day. It was on a surprisingly small
scale. Two investigators from the Neopia City Police Department turned up -
a Grarrl and a Uni - and they were highly sceptical of the situation.
"Baloney," muttered the Grarrl, "There's no such thing as ghosts, demons,
goblins or any other spooky claptrap you people are trying to scare the locals
The Uni, who had one of those logical 'thinking faces' that psychologists
always wear, took a more subtle approach. "Look, I understand your friends are
hardly the lying type, but we have to look at this realistically. You people
live in a swamp! What's to say you don't tell these stories around the campfire
all the time, and want some publicity for it? Besides, it was probably just
a Swamp Ghoul."
A shadow hiding behind the trees, listening to their conversation, muttered
silently about these false allegations.
The Krawk Clan Neopet they were questioning - a Blue Aisha carrying a brightly
coloured boom box - answered meekly, "I just think you should take this more
seriously. It wasn't a Swamp Ghoul - we come across those all the time, and
none of them were ever that big or had Petpets. There were several more sightings
last night. Ask any Clan member if you don't believe me. Besides, Spike and
Rincham are actually quite aloof. They would never have the swamp in such a
tizzy if they knew it couldn't be a danger to us."
"Amen," came the reply from the bushes. An Eyriess stepped out into the light,
her light navy fur and feathers covered in jagged sky-blue stripes.
"Hey, Angel," chuckled the Aisha.
"Inspectors Burzwakh and Haltred. Please state your name and business here,
miss," snarled the larger-than-life Grarrl.
Angel glared at the inspector. "Gladly. My name's Angel_72_21 - Angel to my
friends - and my 'business' - besides living here, of course - is to stop cowboys
like you badmouthing my owner and brother."
"Owner? Brother? We're only here to collect evidence, Miss." The Stone-coloured
Grarrl named Burzwakh was beginning to get testy. "And for future reference,
you should leave the investigating to the professionals," he boasted, fingering
his Land War General badge.
Angel clicked her beak. "You want evidence? Okay. When they came home last
night, I could hardly recognise them. Rincham was so scared, he went straight
to the Lab Ray in the hope that it would block the memory of last night. You're
wasting your time coming here if all you're gonna do is call us liars." What
Angel didn't tell them was why she was there. She was simply getting tired of
sitting in her room and reading all day. There was something about her nature
that meant she loved mystical journeys and quests. She wanted to get out, to
go on an adventure! And the appearance of a spectre in the swamp provided the
perfect opportunity and helped her friends along the way! She fingered a heart-shaped
charm that hung round her neck unconsciously while she thought.
Haltred the white Uni jotted down the details on a notepad. He mulled over
something to himself before answering, "Thank you."
"Yeah, thanks Angel," growled Burzwakh in a sardonic tone.
She cringed. "You can call me Angel_72_21."
The Electric Eyriess stormed off through the forest, hot with rage. How could
they refuse to let her help? These were serious allegations, and those inspectors
refused to take this seriously. Does somebody have to get seriously hurt before
they take action?
"Hey Angel - wait up!" The Blue Aisha trotted after her, yelling. Angel grinded
to a halt, waiting for her to catch up.
"Hey Saf. Sorry to burst in on your interview like that."
"No problemo. Heck, it gave me an excuse to escape!" Shining_Safyre shuffled
uncomfortably. "I really didn't like the look of those two. The Uni was okay
I suppose, despite his creepy stare, but that Grarrl ... how creepy."
Angel groaned irritably. "So it wasn't just me, then?"
"Aye. I've had a lot on my mind recently."
She sighed. "Humph. Alright, I've just recently felt like there's something
I need to prove, like there's a purpose I'm being called to do. Well, forget
them. Let's go investigate, Inspector Saf!"
Saf snickered. "Right on, Inspector Angel!"
To be continued...